Read Volume 1 here and Volume 2 here.
Song: “After Today”
Artist: Aaron Lohr
From: A Goofy Movie (1995)
This song, from the very underrated A Goofy Movie, makes you feel as if you can do anything. It’s all about visualizing victory and no more gym. “After Today” has everything – it’s catchy, it’s relatable and at the 1:00 mark the guys from Growing Up Nerdy have a cameo! It’s the perfect song to pump you up long enough to collect your balls and hit on a goof. I never understood why hitting on Roxanne makes Max (who’s a 6, maybe a 7) so nervous. She touches his arm, talks to him and rushes over when he falls down the bleachers. For those of you scoring at home, that’s three I.O.I’s (Indicators of Interest). Believe in yourself, dawg.
Song: “Awesome (You Are My Hero)”
Artist: Ya Kid K
From: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991)
As advertised, this song is awesome. Who doesn’t love un-ironic keytars, turtle silhouettes and the Pepto Bismol dancers for all your pizza-induced turtlegestion? If that wasn’t enough, the song works for me because the rapper is the incomparable Ya Kid K from Technotronic (best rhyme: “Remember to keep the soil fertile/or you’ll have to answer to a turtle”) and the gentleman on the hook (Bernie Mac..no wait, it’s Danny D) sings the shit out of it. You can just tell that he believes it. This is not a job to him. He is coming out of his shell, this is his moment and it’s a beautiful thing to see (#20FeetFromShredder)*. Much love, Danny D. You could have been all “Please Mr. Kennedy” and acted above this song, but you weren’t.
Trivia: The mic that Ya Kid K is checking throughout the song is the SAME MIC that’s used in the F This Movie! studio.
Song: “A Whole New World (Aladdin’s Theme)”
Artist: Regina Belle and Peabo Bryson
From: Aladdin (1992)
This song annihilates my irony shield. Notice how Peabo and Regina keep singing over each other? It’s because they can’t wait to sing more of this song. It’s that good. Quick digression: during my fifth grade play, my class sang “A Whole New World”. I had a solo. Guess which part? Yup, the throw-ins: “Don’t you dare close your eyes” and “Hold your breath, it gets better.” The night of the performance, I practiced those lines many times. Should I emphasize the word “dare?” The answer was yes! I was all “Don’t you DARE close your eyes.”* Another reason I love this song so much is how doctor’s office-y it sounds. Seriously, for such a romantic song, I could never imagine romance being inspired by it. Although I can totally buy it inspiring you to make a bowl of microwavable soup, so there’s that.
*When I got that solo, I had a VERY big head about it. I remember rolling my eyes at how much less talented some of my classmates were. I was all “Have they even seen Aladdin????!!!!” No fucking culture, those kids. None!
Song: “I Don’t Want This Night To End”
Artist: John O’ Banion
From: Legend of the Eight Samurai (1983)
OMG! Has anyone else seen this trailer (shockingly, it’s for a movie directed by Kinji “Battle Royale” Fukasaku)? I saw it during the intermission of one of those grindhouse movie double feature DVDs that were all the rage a few years ago, and I’ve loved it (and the song) ever since. It’s so good it makes me not want to watch the movie for fear it couldn’t possibly live up to the preview. As for the song itself, I love it because it’s uber-sincere and NEEDY -- it’s as if John O’ Banion will drink the secret elixir hidden under Mandara if he doesn’t get his way. I think my favorite aspect of this delightful video is that the title of the damn movie changes from the beginning of the trailer to the end. Don’t fail to proofread!
Song: “I Will”
Artist: Kitra Williams and Jarah Gibson
From: The Room (2003)
Those of you who have seen The Room (and if you haven’t, you should see The Room) will remember this song from one of the many long sex scenes. Rose petals! While admittedly a little repetitive, “I Will” is so great because it’s similar to an improv exercise I once had to do. The direction was to try to do the shittiest scene possible, and what ended up happening was that I was so trained that even my shitty scene had lots of good in it. My scene partners and I couldn’t not be good at that point. The same goes for Kitra Williams and Jarah Gibson’s song, “I Will.” I love the lyrics that say the guy will stand in the way of a bullet, run through a forest of flames and climb the highest mountain to show the girl that he loves her. He must be dating Diane Court. He gave her his heart, she gave him a pen.
Song: “Lady Marmalade”
Artist: Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink
From: Moulin Rouge (2001)
The way I feel about “Lady Marmalade” is the exact same feeling Jennifer Lawrence had about Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook: scared but intrigued. Remember how you didn’t know French before “Lady Marmalade” and then you went to Paris the next summer and someone asked “Where’s the Eifel Tower?” and you said “Mocca chocolata, ya, ya” and the guy looked back at his map and said “Oh yeah, there it is, thanks!” and you were all “Creole Lady Marmalade?” Of course you do. I have so many thoughts about “Lady Marmalade,” but the most prevalent are: a) What ever happened to Mya? I was a fan of Mya; b) So, this is what Victoria’s Secret (the song) would be like?; c) Is Lil’ Kim the Obi-Wan Kenobi to Nicki Minaj’s Luke Skywalker? and D) Thanks, Christina Aguilera, for murdering my boner for you. Seriously, she is terrifying in this video starting at the 2:38 mark. It's as if Aunt Zelda from Pet Semetary was the headliner at your bachelor party. She later did a make-good in 2002’s “Dirrty,” aka The Shawskank Redemption.
Song: “She Said”
Artist: Collective Soul
From: Scream 2 (1997)
Everyone loves a wet front man, am I right? Back in 1995, my junior high class was asked who our favorite band was and we picked “Collect-A-Soul.” We knew our shit. My favorite song from the band has always been “She Said.” I love Scream 2, and one of the reasons I love it so much is the context that “She Said” comes in the movie (at the start of the end credits). The music cues up, we get a crane shot overlooking the campus and then that awesome “badoo beeyoo” guitar part from the chorus kicks in. The video itself is not great. It looks as if it were shot inside a washing machine. Ghostface is now The Creature from the Black Lagoon and it repeats the '90s alternative music trope of a lady randomly swimming underwater. That being said, I can’t deny all of that is trumped by “badoo beeyoo,” which makes me explode into happiness molecules and leaving me to collect my soul.
Song: “Straight To My Feet”
From: Street Fighter (1994)
Artist: M.C. Hammer and Deion Sanders
Shit, where do I even start? I’ll admit “Straight to My Feet” is greatly helped because my expectations of it were low. Yet I have to admit it sounds great in my ear buds mostly due to the great George Clinton and The Parliament Fundakelic “(Not Just) Knee Deep” sample it uses. Other great moments from the video include: Van Dammcing (he is into this), Wes Studi obviously checking out JCVD at the 1:16 mark, Deion Sanders’ terrible rapping at 1:23, which sounds similar to “budda..dudda..bu..du..da…du..da..du…bu…dida..brown…I’m Willie Beamen,” classic air kicking intimidation tactics at 2:23, a random backup singer at 3:15 (#20FeetFromBison)* and a hug at the end. Work hard, play hard mutha fuckaz! That’s how we do in Shadaloo. Any udder noo business?
Song: “White Men Can’t Jump”
From: White Men Can’t Jump (1992)
Hey RIFF! When you say “we got next,” you are supposed to play basketball! You hogged the court all day with your actor mugging and no-look rapping. It literally turned to night in the video. Dammit, RIFF! Sorry, I’ll calm down now. That Rosie Perez looks fine as a muthafu***. Where can I get one of those White Men Can’t Jump shirts? The song’s tight, BTW…I love that part where you’re all “bet your bottom dolla.” Sorry, F- Heads, I’m meandering. In short, just because you’re listening to RIFF doesn’t mean you’re hearing RIFF. Patrick, can we do a podcast on White Men Can’t Jump???
Song: “You Could Be Mine”
Artist: Guns N’ Roses
From: Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Or as I call it "the National Anthem." I can’t stress how important this song was to me in the summer of 1991. I used to watch the MTV Top 20 video countdown to see where “You Could Be Mine” would place and be all “Oh, c’mon!” if it wasn’t number one. I owned the cassette single and made my family listen to it on road trips over and over again. Cut to about a year ago: I wasn’t sure the song would hold up, but I saw Axl Rose in Las Vegas during a concert at the Hard Rock and “You Could Be Mine” is still THE BOMB! I love when people sing this at karaoke because the part at 4:14 always screws them up. And there’s nothing more hardcore then what happens at 5:17. Seriously, could Axl not see the stage? What’s up with that move? It’s all capped by the face melter at 5:34, which is the music equivalent to opening the ark of the covenant and the random tag at the end where Axl has such low self-esteem that he’s not worth murdering??
*As the movie 20 Feet from Stardom taught us, back-up singers should stay in their place because they don’t deserve good things. If they did, they would be famous. I don’t make the rules.
Last chance! What are songs you love from movies that you have been too embarrassed to admit to anyone?